We all have double standards. On a sober day, we’ll judge that group of loud mouths for disrupting the peace and quiet of our regular pub. On another, we’ll be banging beer glasses and laughing in unison.
When the issue of overcrowding in pubs and clubs as a security hazard came about, all of us agreed with it wholeheartedly. “I mean, c’mon, what if there was a fire, we would all die in a stampede,” someone said. I did too.
But how much fun would it really be to walk into a relatively empty bar? Isn’t the choreography involved in wading through a crowd that is bonding over alcohol entertaining?
Last weekend, I visited a popular bar in Bandra and found myself a vacant table within minutes. This is unusual even on a Tuesday night, and this was a Friday. We were happy that there was no waiting. The occasional drunken conversation about “Mumbai ka scene” kept rising and fading.
Youngsters were taking pictures of their drinking permits and updating status messages. It was 11.45 pm. A few seats were still lying
Everyone in Mumbai has a “this one time I almost died” story. Yes, a stampede caused by a fire in a pub can prove fatal, but so can just living in this city. Studies have proved that Mumbaikars will probably die seven years before any other Indian and 12 years before those who live in other parts of Maharashtra.
How often do you hear of stampedes claiming lives in clubs? As opposed to, say, the number of deaths caused by bus drivers’ petrifying skills on narrow roads or mishaps in local trains? Earlier this year, reports claimed that six people died after a stampede broke out in a temple.
Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if bomb blasts are more common in Mumbai than fires in pubs. If that irritatingly cheerful voice on the radio a day after the terror attacks can boast about this city’s “spirit”, then it should take a lot more than a few busts to scare crowds from stepping out.
Use this opportunity to discover an obscure bar in your vicinity, if you believe the popular ones stand a higher chance of being raided.
But if you feel like it, make it a point to get out like you would have four months ago. And know that your drink can probably save that pub, and our nightlife, from shutting down completely.